Wednesday, July 20, 2016

UV Safety

The summer is here in Arizona and that usually means excessive heat and sun from dawn to dusk. There are many precautions to take when being outside to avoid sun burn and many other dangerous skin damage. Below are details about what UV is as well as how to prevent skin damage.

What is UV?

UV stands for Ultraviolet radiation and can be very dangerous if you don’t take the proper measures. Ultraviolet radiation is produced from the sun and although it has risks, it is also a great way to obtain vitamin D.   

Ultraviolet radiation has an index to indicate severity ranging from 0 to 11, with 11 being the highest. So if your area indicates a very high index number, you have a very high chance of harm from unprotected exposure. Typically if you go online and check your weather site, there will be a section saying what number on the index your area has. For example, today in Marana, it says we have an index of 3. 0-2 would be low, 3-5 counts as moderate, 6-7 is high, 8-10 is very high, and anything 11+ is extreme.

How Can I Protect Myself?
  • Wear clothes that will protect your skin such as shirts with long sleeves and pants that cover the legs. Hats are an excellent way to avoid eye and head damage as well as sunglasses. For sunglasses, make sure it has at least 99 UV block as well as a wrap around shape to always protect your eyes. As for a hat, a wide-brimmed is the most recommended.
  • To avoid sunburns, always make sure to put on sunblock. Although it takes time and if you are in a hurry, it is always better to be safe than sorry. When you don’t protect your skin, you make yourself more vulnerable to skin cancer. According to the FDA, use sunscreen that is broad spectrum and has SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or more to reduce skin burns.
  • Staying in shaded areas when it is unbearably hot or even wearing a good sized hat can protect your skin.
  • Be careful near anything that can reflect the sun’s rays. Examples include water, windows, snow, and even sand. Resources state that it is still possible to get a sunburn that way.
  • At higher altitudes, you are increasing your chance of getting hit by UV rays. When you are at higher altitudes, there are significantly less resources to absorb the rays.
  • Lastly, if you are going to be in the sun a lot, be sure to apply sunscreen at various times throughout the day. For maximum safety, apply every two hours.

By following the necessary precautions, you should be able to enjoy yourself in the sun at the beach, your local park and pool. Safety should always come first and saves a chance at winding up in the emergency room.

For more information on the UV Scale to see how severe it is in your location, check out this link:

For more information on MHC Healthcare, check out this link:

Stay safe!

Author: Beth Jeffries, MHC Healthcare Volunteer